Here are 7 Terrifying Things to Fear in the Universe
We never really think about the harsh realities of space — frankly, because most of us have no clue what’s it like. Thus, it’s hard to relate to that environment.
However, outer space is a dangerous place for human beings and biological life on our planet.
Think of the Earth and its atmosphere as a submarine with a strong hull that resides in thousands of fathoms of seawater. With the pressure from the ocean’s weight continually trying to penetrate the submarine’s walls, sea creatures of every type are also lurking about.
The Earth’s atmosphere represents the walls of the submarine. And as far as the dangerous sea creatures, we have many celestial activities and large pieces of debris darting all around our galaxy.
Seven violent activities in the universe
Now let us look at seven space events that go beyond the pale of what we might expect to observe in our telescopes. Keep in mind that these activities are probably intense enough to destroy our entire planet — at the very least, every living being on Earth.
The word ‘cannibalism’ conjures up some pretty gnarly, gruesome images in most of our minds. While the galactic version of cannibalism is not necessarily gruesome, it’s extremely powerful.
Throughout astronomical history, there have been instances of galaxies that completely devoured a neighboring galaxy. For example, the galaxy Andromeda, which is relatively close to ours, once gobbled up a sister galaxy of the Milky Way about two billion years ago¹.
In addition to that, several galaxies in the universe are being devoured right now by a more prominent neighbor.
The good news is that our galaxy will be safe for at least four billion years. That’s the time when Andromeda is expected to munch down our Milky Way.
Human beings are well aware that living things eventually die, which applies to almost everything in the universe. Most of us have been introduced to the death of stars through the media or in our science classes.
A star’s death is fascinating and well described by scientists and astronomers. Experts often tell us that most of the stars we see at night are already dead — the light that reflects that story has yet to reach us. Thus, life and death are the natural order of things. For some reason, zombie stars have chosen to ignore this fact².
Zombie stars are the rare cases where they died a normal death but suddenly came back to life as if nothing ever happened. This phenomenon has baffled scientists.
These zombie stars should’ve perished when they were supernovas but didn’t for some reason and are still zooming around space. What makes them scary is that we don’t understand them and can only hope they stay away from our solar system.
Triple galaxy collision
The thing about living within the comfort of Earth’s atmosphere is that we have no understanding of what’s happening in space. That’s probably a good thing because such events are quite mind-boggling. An example of this is the collision of three galaxies simultaneously³ — which actually occurred in 2007.
While the collision of two galaxies is far more normal than most of us think, a triple galaxy collision is extremely rare — quite scary too. Although this event looks like a burst of intense light to our eyes, an infinite number of stars are crashing into one another with great force.
A triple galaxy collision, such as the one observed in 2007, can form stars at a rate of 200 solar masses every year at its center.
Many people believe that strange matter is something that physicists have created to explain what they deem unexplainable. However, the fact that this is needed for filling knowledge gaps is a bit disturbing in itself.
Strange matter has properties that are foreign to Earth’s brightest minds — otherwise, it wouldn’t exist and instead would have a proper name.
Ordinary matter is comprised of all kinds of particles. We know that molecules are made from atoms, which have a nucleus. The nucleus contains protons, electrons, and neutrons. And these three members that make up the nucleus are made from quarks and even smaller particles.
The scary part is that within strange matter, quarks run free of any constraints⁴. They seem to obey no known rules. It is a different kind of matter of which we know nothing. We don’t know how it would behave if it were to come in contact with ordinary matter.
Who knows? It may have the power to transform the properties of other matter into its own properties. In essence, one tiny clump of strange matter could theoretically destroy our universe — and could be traveling towards Earth right now.
The good news is that the actual existence of strange matter has yet to be proven. It only exists on paper and through equations at present. The bad news is that many elements of our universe have been discovered this way — such as planets⁵.
Galaxies without dark matter
If you’ve studied a bit about the universe’s properties, you already know that the universe we see represents a tiny portion of its entirety. The majority of our universe is comprised of something known as dark matter.
While it is nowhere near as elusive to us as strange matter, several mysteries surround its existence. The biggest thing we do know about dark matter is that it accounts for the total masses of galaxies — when the visible matter does not. We also know that it permeates through almost everything in the universe.
What has baffled astronomers and scientists, however, are galaxies that have no dark matter. In the science world, it has been believed that dark matter has been the glue that holds the universe together. So when galaxies exist without the need for dark matter, then a more profound mystery is created. And as we’ve learned from this list, unknowns in the universe can be frightening⁶.
Coldest place in the universe
As one might imagine, the universe can be an icy place. But it’s colder beyond our comprehension because the heat from its stars represents a very tiny portion of its wholeness. Most scientists believe that the coldest place in our universe is the Boomerang Nebula. This nebula exists as a giant mass of dust and gas in outer space⁷.
Want to know how cold? It has an average temperature of -458 F. Scientists have been studying this nebula for quite a while now, to learn more about its story. A recent study indicates that it was probably ejected from a dying star that had thrown itself into another more giant star. During the process, the majority of its matter was blasted in a cold burst.
While this event occurred a safe distance away from our galaxy, it does indicate another future possibility with a neighboring solar system that could have lethal consequences.
: Cosmos Magazine Editors. (July 26, 2018). Evidence of galactic cannibalism detected in Andromeda. https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/evidence-of-galactic-cannibalism-detected-in-andromeda.
: David Nield. (July 19, 2019). Astronomers Found 3 ‘Zombie’ Stars That Came Back to Life After Supernova. https://www.sciencealert.com/astronomers-have-found-three-zombie-stars-that-came-back-to-life-after-supernova.
: ESO.org. (December 21, 2007). VLT’s NACO instrument reveals a triple cosmic collision. https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0755/.
: Susan L. Nasr. Should I be afraid of strange matter? https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/strange-matter.htm#pt1.
: Rochester.edu. Gravitational Perturbations and the Prediction of New Planets. http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~blackman/ast104/perturbations.html.
: Jake Parks. (March 29, 2019). Second ghostly galaxy without dark matter discovered, first confirmed. https://astronomy.com/news/2019/03/ghostly-galaxy-without-dark-matter-confirmed.
: BEC Crew. (June 7, 2017). Scientists Can Finally Explain Why The Boomerang Nebula Is Colder Than Space Itself. https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-can-finally-explain-why-the-boomerang-nebula-is-colder-than-space-itself.